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Poole on 1 Samuel 3:15: Samuel's First Oracle...Against the House of Eli! (Part 4)

Verse 15:[1] And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.

[He slept, וַיִּשְׁכַּב] I prefer, he was lying. For it is not likely that his closest disciple, with so many punishments having been heard as about to devolve upon the head of his teacher, was albe to sleep (Mendoza, similarly Sanchez, Menochius).

[He opened the doors of the house] That is, of the courtyard; so that they might stand open to the Israelites coming for worship (Piscator out of Junius, Malvenda). He opened; that is, according to his custom (Vatablus). After the divine colloquium he did not become proud; but, as he was wont to do previously, he was diligent in his office, conducting himself modestly and submissively. Moreover, it was the office of the Levites to be custodians, by opening and closing the gates of the Tabernacle, that is, of the courtyard (Martyr).

Opened the doors of the house of the Lord: although the tabernacle, whilst it was to be removed from place to place in the wilderness, had no doors, but consisted only of curtains, and had only hangings before the entrance, instead of doors; yet when it was settled in one place, as now it was in Shiloh, where it had been for a long time, it is more than probable, both from this place, and by comparing 1 Samuel 1:9; 2 Samuel 6:17, and from the nature and reason of the thing, that it was enclosed within some solid building, which had doors, and posts, and other parts belonging to it.

[He feared to show…the vision to Eli] In that he was hindered by shame and modesty (Martyr); because of the dignity and age of Eli; also because of his own humility and youth (Mendoza). The impious exalt as often as they are able to report anything that is painful to another. But the pious weep with those that weep[2] (Martyr). Question: Did Samuel sin in keeping silence? Response 1: Some answer in the affirmative. For, 1. Prophesies are given for this reason, that they might be conducive to the salvation of others. 2. If we fear to displease, fraternal reproof will be altogether removed from our midst (Martyr). That admonition was necessary to stir up the High Priest, who was lethargic in his faintheartedness, natural charity itself was dictating (certain interpreters in Mendoza). Response 2: Others answer in the negative. 1. Neither Scripture, nor the Fathers, condemn him. 2. God did not command Samuel to share this with Eli. 3. He was silent only for a little while, while he was seeking an advantageous occasion to admonish (Mendoza).

The vision, that is, the matter of the vision or revelation, partly from the reverence and respect he bore to his person, to whom he was loth to be a messenger of such sad tidings; partly lest if he had been hasty to utter it, Eli might think him guilty of arrogancy or secret complacency in his calamity, which was like to tend to Samuel’s advancement. And not being commanded by God to acquaint Eli herewith, he prudently suspended the publication of it till a fit occasion were offered, which he might reasonably expect in a very little time, knowing that Eli would be greedy to know the matter of that revelation, the preface whereof he was acquainted with; and that it would be less offensive, and therefore more useful to Eli, when he saw that Samuel was not puffed up with it, nor forward to vent it, until Eli forced it from him.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁכַּ֤ב שְׁמוּאֵל֙ עַד־הַבֹּ֔קֶר וַיִּפְתַּ֖ח אֶת־דַּלְת֣וֹת בֵּית־יְהוָ֑ה וּשְׁמוּאֵ֣ל יָרֵ֔א מֵהַגִּ֥יד אֶת־הַמַּרְאָ֖ה אֶל־עֵלִֽי׃ [2] See Romans 12:15.

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